What is the Feast of Rificolona?
With a nearly 400-year-old history, The Festa della Rificolona is one of Florence’s most treasured cultural events. Taking place on the 7th of September each year, the festival is held on the eve of the birth of the Virgin Mary.
In the 17th Century, peasants from the surrounding countryside would come to Florence to celebrate Mary’s birth and to trade and sell their wares. The journey was long and peasants lit their way with paper lanterns and thus a tradition was born; at 8:00pm on each 7th of September a procession of colorful lanterns can be seen winding through the ancient streets of Florence.
Need to Know
While official festivities start at 8pm around the Basilica Santissima Annunziata, make sure you head down to the banks of the River Arno in early evening to see lanterns floating on the water. Also, don’t miss the huge market that takes place in front of the basilica on the following day.
Did You Know?
In the early days of the festival peasants entering the city were mocked and derided by the city dwellers. In a nod to this tradition, today children line the procession blowing spit-wads to destroy the lanterns and set them alight!
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